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Monday, June 5, 2017

Political Tidbits

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The fate of Confederate monuments is now in the hands of local governments. The Louisiana Senate has rejected two bills which would have required prior approval to any action being taken. The measures didn’t even make it out of committee. The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee voted 4-2 to kill both bills.

One of the bills was introduced by state Rep. Thomas Carmody, a Republican from Shreveport. His bill would have required a vote of the public before any Confederate statue could be removed. Carmody was successful in getting his bill approved by the House of Representatives after a contentious debate.

The other bill was introduced by state Sen. Beth Mizell, a Republican from Franklinton. Mizell’s bill, which was receiving its first hearing, would have required legislative approval to remove the statue. But the committee turned thumbs down on her measure as well after state Sen. Troy Carter, a Democrat from New Orleans, said the bills "are constant reminders of the atrocities of slavery."

That means the future of the Confederate monument on the grounds of the Caddo Courthouse is now in the hands of the Caddo Commission. The Commission appointed an advisory committee to make a recommendation. It has held four public hearings on the matter. The committee action comes after New Orleans has removed four Confederate statues. A recent poll by Rasmussen revealed that only 19 percent of those surveyed favored the removed of the statues.

Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler is moving forward with her efforts to convince the NBA New Orleans Pelicans to locate its G-League team in Shreveport. Tyler’s proposal to the Pelicans will include the construction of a medium-sized sports facility that would seat 3,500 to 5,000 people. The mayor contends that the facility could be used year-round for other sports events.

It is a risky proposition. At the City Council meeting, Councilman Willie Bradford was the lone negative vote on a resolution supporting the mayor’s efforts. Bradford pointed out 13 previous sports franchises have failed in Shreveport for lack of fan support. No details on financing the arena has been given. The decision by the Pelicans could come as early as this week. Five other cities are in the running for the franchise. Chances are likely slim that the city of Shreveport will be selected. It would probably be best if it wasn’t.

The state’s infrastructure will continue to crumble after the Legislature succumbed to the anti-tax lobby and killed a proposed increase in the state’s gasoline tax. State Rep. Steve Carter, a Republican from Baton Rouge, threw in the towel after he realized he did not have the needed two-thirds vote of the House of Representatives.

His proposal would have added 17 cents to the state’s gas tax, which would have produced $500 million a year to fix roads and bridges. The 20 cents a gallon Louisiana tax on gas has not been raised since 1989. Carter, in an effort to keep his bill alive, offered to lower the tax to 10 cents a gallon, but anti-tax lobbyists and the Louisiana Republican Party would not buy that, either. It’s too bad. The state’s infrastructure could have used the money generated by the tax.

There are a couple of interesting polls from Rasmussen, the Republicanleaning polling organization. The first reveals that the troubles that have beset Fox News have taken their toll on the cable news network. In January, 42 percent of cable news viewers said that Fox News was their go-to network, while 35 percent said CNN.

This most recent poll now shows that 47 percent say that CNN is the network they usually watch compared to 33 percent who turn to Fox News and 16 percent who prefer MSNBC. It appears the dip in support for Fox News comes from Republicans turning away from the network. In January, 72 percent of Republicans said they watch Fox News. In the most recent survey, that number of Republicans who watch Fox News had dropped to 48 percent.

In another poll, Rasmussen found that voters saw a brighter future after Donald Trump was elected president, but after a few months in office, they now think the best this nation has to offer has come and gone. When thinking about the nation, 52 percent of voters say America’s best days are in the past, while 36 percent see a bright future. Immediately after the election, 47 percent said the best days were to come, while 33 percent said they were in the past.

More bad news comes for Trump from a recent poll by Morning Consult/POLITICO. It reveals that the president’s approval rating remains low while support for impeachment grows. Only 45 percent approve of the job that Trump is doing, while 50 percent disapprove. A survey from May 23 found that 38 percent believed that impeachment proceedings should begin. In this latest survey, that number rose to 43 percent.

Trump’s recent foreign trip had mixed results. Thirty-five percent said the trip helped America’s relationships with other countries, 32 percent think it did more to hurt, and 25 percent say it didn’t make a difference either way.

Lou Gehrig Burnett, an award-winning journalist, has been involved with politics for 44 years and was a congressional aide in Washington, D.C., for 27 years. He also served as executive assistant to former Shreveport Mayor “Bo” Williams. Burnett is the publisher of the weekly “FaxNet Update” and can be reached at 861-0552 or louburnett@comcast.net.

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